MECHANIC FALLS — The Town Council signed an agreement Monday that allows the town access onto the private portion of Riverside Drive so town crews can plow and sand.

“The council wants to review this agreement annually. They want them to form a homeowners association and eventually to bring the road up to town standards,” Town Manager John Hawley said.

Riverside Drive is about a half mile long, with the last quarter mile of it classified as a private way. There are nine houses on the private section.

Hawley explained that the developer of the original subdivision, located on the end of Riverside Drive, went bankrupt and left a road that had not been built to town specifications.

That was in the early 1980s and at that time the town had no ordinance to require an association that would be responsible for the road’s upkeep.

In the early 1990s more homes were allowed to be built in the neighborhood.

“The town shouldn’t have allowed the further development and now it is a public safety issue,” Hawley said.

The residents of Riverside Drive have tried in past years to arrange for help from the town but have been unable to get the signatures of every resident of the affected portion of the road.

“Because it is private land they all had to sign the release deed, absolving the town from liability, before the council could begin to consider their request,” Hawley said.

Hawley noted that while the council’s goal is for people in the neighborhood to form an association and ultimately improve the road to meet town specifications, it will use the annual review to make sure homeowners are taking care of summer maintenance.

“We don’t want to be sending plows in there if the residents haven’t taken care of road washouts,” Hawley added.

Hawley said the council hopes the residents will follow the course taken by people on Timber Lane. Faced with a similar situation, residents of that road put aside enough money to bring the road up to town standards. It took several years, but they succeeded, and now have had their road accepted by the town.

In other business, the council also set a new fee schedule for providing police details for private events. The charge will be $60 per hour for an officer and cruiser.

Hawley also reported that bids are out for replacing three electric hot water heaters with on-demand propane heaters in the Municipal Building and insulating heating pipes in the Fire Department and public works building. Bids will be awarded at the March council meeting.

In a related matter, the town’s energy committee will hold an energy fair on March 3 in the Municipal Building gymnasium, the purpose of which is to acquaint area homeowners with low cost ways to reduce energy use.

The town’s Comprehensive Plan Update Committee also announced that the free spaghetti supper, postponed last month due to weather, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 15, at 5:30 p.m. at the Elm Street School. Residents and business owners are invited with the expectation that they use this opportunity to tell the committee what they want for the future of their town.

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